Category Archives: Pixel Shavings

Pixel Shavings: Exploring Memory by Hazel Mitchell

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/10/exploring-memory-by-hazel-mitchell.html
October 18, 2012 at 11:25AM

Lately I’ve been actively working on remembering my childhood. My main motivation for this (as my career in children’s illustrations goes along and I find myself illustrating characters in different situations) is I that find myself thinking – ‘what would I have done or felt in that scenario?’

I’ve never been a diarist. And especially not as a child. Life for me was somewhat topsy turvy and I never felt the need to write it down! When I learned to draw and record what I saw … that was a kind of diary. But so few of those drawings remain. The memories, the places, the people, I am sure they were all there in the lines and marks I made. Just as they are now … when I look at a drawing in a sketch pad it brings back  what I was thinking or feeling and hearing and smelling. It’s like a little memory capsule.

Then I read Linda Barry’s books ‘Picture This ‘ and ‘What is it?’. Both a kind of stream of consciousness laid down in what at first seems a random way, and then, you begin to see into Lynda’s mind. In the repetition of the characters, the marks, the train of thought. I was hooked!

Writer’s, of course, often use exercises to jog memories, to reconnect with childhood thoughts and feelings. But, as I rooted around on line to find similar ways of jogging the mind, I found not so much not so much for illustrators.

I began my own experiment and call it ‘Look Back in Candour’. It’s more like a snapshot than a diary … and sometimes the snapshots lead me somewhere I wasn’t expecting. At times the memories are hard to recall, occasionally sad, but often happy. There is so much there in my own story, it’s like dipping into a fathomless reservoir. Already it’s bringing new significance to my other projects. Alongside the drawings I have begun to make some abstract notes.

And the best thing? I am finding there are story ideas in there a-plenty!!

You can find it online at https://lookbackincandour.wordpress.com/.

Pixel Shavings: Visual Voice by Fred Koehler

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/10/visual-voice-by-fred-koehler.html
October 08, 2012 at 10:06AM

I’m fairly certain that I am the least qualified illustrator on this blog in many of the technical areas of illustration. I could start to list my deficits, but I think you’d get bored and I’d get depressed. Instead, let’s talk about something that seems to have carried over successfully from my career in advertising, and that’s the concept of Voice.

Silly Fred, Voice is a writers’ thing, isn’t it? Yes it is. But it also has major implications for the marriage of words and pictures in the creation of successful storytelling. It’s why the illustrator’s name goes on the cover of the book. Because illustrators lend their Visual Voice to a project just as much as the author brings a Narrative Voice.

Here’s an example from a follow-up book I’m working on to Dad’s Bad Day (Penguin 2014).

“Little Gray helped his dad with the dishes.” 

If you gave this line to a hundred different illustrators, you’d get back a hundred completely different illustrations. And here’s where illustrators with practiced Visual Voice can differentiate themselves as storytellers.

Sketch 1 – Little Gray is an elephant, his dad is an elephant, and the little guy is helping the big guy do the dishes. TA DA!!! Here’s a sketch.


The Visual Voice of this image is sweet. It’s cheerful and it’s a great moment between father and son. But is it the right Voice for the illustration? See, I happen to know Little Gray pretty well, and I know he’s quite a cantankerous little elephant. The scene pictured above is much less likely to happen than the following sketch.

Visual Voice. Get it? Same words + different images = completely different stories. Pretty cool, huh? Here’s another example from the same story.

“Little Gray got extra-special dressed up for the occasion.”

Sketch 1 – I go with the words of the story.

Sketch 2 – I get inside the character’s brain and draw what I think he might actually do.

  Same words, completely different stories.

There are bunches of illustrators who do this really really well. Here are three for you to check out–all brilliant, all with compelling Visual Voice, and all with books on the shelf of your local bookstore.

Dan Santat
In “Oh No,” Dan takes a very short text and invents a gorgeous world to propel a fantastic concept into a really fun and adventurous final storytelling product. The nuance that he adds to his work is phenomenal.

Molly Idle
In “Flora and the Flamingo,” we don’t even need words to hear (and see) an amazing Voice. The story is told in simple expression and interaction between unlikely friends who make for great characters. Love it!

Jon Klassen
If you read “I Want My Hat Back” without the illustrations it might make sense, but it would be a completely different story. Jon uses visual nuance to imply a much funnier tale than the words themselves actually communicate.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading. Fred out!!

Pixel Shavings: Major Manners Has Arrived! by Russ Cox

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/09/major-manners-has-arrived-by-russ-cox.html
September 03, 2012 at 09:34AM

 ©Russ Cox & Outhouse Ink Publishing

I would like to announce that Major Manners Nite Nite Soldier (Outhouse Ink Publishing), which I illustrated, is now available through their website or look for it at a bookstore near you. The story is about Major Manners who teaches children to brush their teeth, bath, get ready for bed, etc. all set to a cadence. The book comes with a fun cd in which the major and kids read the story in their own charming way. We are working on a new story together that will be out late next year so stay tuned for details.

Pixel Shavings: Say Cheese! By Sheralyn Barnes

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/08/say-cheese-by-sheralyn-barnes.html
August 01, 2012 at 08:16PM

Hello and Happy Summer!
 
For this post I thought I would share some “snapshots” I’ve done recently. I’ve had the desire to do less actual digital painting on the computer lately and instead have felt the need to revisit my drawers of pencil, paper, and paints a bit more. I’ve recently had several projects come in that involve making illustrations that look like snapshots and postcards and so I’ve been experimenting with how I can use the computer as more a tool for design of my scanned in, hand drawn images. I found a fun filtering application called SnapSeed and here are some of the results of my experiments.
 
 The first is an experiment using some existing pencil sketches. I’ve always had an issue with the Aesop fable of Ant and Grasshopper and have been working on a story that puts a modern twist on a fable I feel needs to be updated for our modern world. Being a working musician as well, I tend to resent Aesop’s view that hours of practicing and playing a musical instrument is a lazy pursuit, especially in our current world where people are overworked and overstressed, arts programs are disappearing in our schools, and people are generally just not playing enough! So I’ve had these characters hanging out with me in my sketch book a lot lately to remind me of what’s 
important to me.
 This image was composed of several pencil sketches, some scanned photo corners, and the magic of  SnapSeed filters. It’s truly an experimental piece and a bit raw. I’m also trying to perfect a technique that I’m happy with for adding color to my pencil sketches without washing out the original integrity of the sketch. I’m getting closer, but still have a ways to go before I pin it down to a true system.
Speaking of my love for music, here is a photo I recently designed for a world music project that my husband and I have started for kids called Filibert Binkleby and the Travelers. Filibert is our fictitious friend who likes to share his adventures of traveling the world through the songs that he writes (and we perform since he’s always off somewhere new and can’t make the gigs). I’ve been having some fun with some of our old travel photos and a simple Filibert two dimensional “puppet” I created.
Again….a work in progress…but it’s all fun!
 
Thanks for popping in for my post! 
Be sure to check up on our own wacky Brit Hazel here next time around!

Pixel Shavings: Great News & Sneaky Peeks by Fred Koehler

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/07/great-news-sneaky-peeks-by-fred-koehler.html
July 18, 2012 at 01:06PM

Hello friends!! Lots of wonderful things going on in the world of Pixel Shavings, which is a testament to both the value of forming a group and the hard work of each of its members. I think every single member has a project in the works, and that’s seriously awesome.

My great news is that I’ve signed with Josh and Tracey of Adams Literary, rising stars themselves in the world of literary agencies. When I met them the first time, I arrived at our poolside meeting in Orlando wearing a bathing suit and cowboy hat. When they didn’t even flinch, I knew it was meant to be. They even shared their french fries.

Check out Adams Literary at adamsliterary.com. They are OPEN TO SUBMISSIONS!! By the by, that’s how I was able to set the meeting. I sent a compelling email through their website. They had no idea who I was before that email.

Also very cool is that I’ve been featured on author Rob Sanders’ blog. He’s running a fantastic series of success stories from other authors he’s met. For sure check it out at: http://robsanderswrites.blogspot.com/2012/07/fred-koehler.html

On to the Sneaky Peeks. Dad’s Bad Day (Penguin, 2014) is going through a fair amount of sketch revisions. While I’m anxious to move on to final art, I am stoked to be working with a team dedicated to making this the best book possible.

Here are a few sketches that may or may not make the final cut. But I like ’em (and so should you!!). 🙂 As always, thanks for checking in with us and let us know if our collective wisdom can shine a light for you.


 

Cheers,

-Fred

freddiek.com
flickr.com/superfredd

Pixel Shavings: Morning Flight process, Richard Jesse Watson and digital vs physical media – by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/07/morning-flight-process-richard-jesse.html
July 04, 2012 at 09:30AM

To you Americans out there: Happy July 4th! Today I’m going to show you how I created one of my Daily Doodles (some of which I post on DebbieOhi.com). As I’ve mentioned before, I try to draw purely for the fun of it every day.
Sometimes I start with a blank digital canvas and just start drawing the first thing that comes into my head. Other times I’ll do an image search for a word or phrase. In this particular instance, I looked for “kite child” Google Image search and settled on the image at the top of a Flow Psychology page.
Ever since attending Richard Jesse Watson’s session at the SCBWI Illustrators’ Intensive Day in LA last year, I’ve been experimenting more with textures. 
Richard Jesse Watson during an Illustrator Intensive
at the SCBWI-LA conference last year.
 Richard incorporated textures by manipulating and using a variety of physical media. 
Richard Jesse Watson during an Illustrator Intensive
at the SCBWI-LA conference last year.
Since I work digitally, I had to look for other ways to bring texture into my drawings. I started experimenting with Photoshop’s texture brushes.
To Photoshop users: you can find many, many texture brushes online as well as tips on how to install brushes, if you don’t already know. You can also create your own brushes.
I used texture brushes and shades of yellow/orange to create a sunrise (or sunset, depending on how you choose to look at it). I used several layers so I could play around a bit with different colours.
When I was happy with the look, I added a plain black ground:
And grass:
And a silhouette of a running child. I had the child’s arms stretching up to hold the kite:
Finally, I added the kite. I made the layer slightly transparent so you could see part of the sky showing through. I also added a paler colour to make it look like the sun was just peeking over the hill:
I put the sun on a different layer so I could move it around and see what worked best.
And yes, I’m all about layers. I know there’s a much different satisfaction in working with physical media and I totally get why many artists prefer non-digital art, but the flexibility of digital media encourages me to experiment. 
With such a small office space and limited time, I’m not sure I’d feel as free to experiment with such a wide range of styles and methods if I knew that I’d have to re-do the entire piece if I screwed up, or potentially waste expensive art materials.
BUT before you traditional artists jump on me, I also admit that I don’t have much experience in working with physical media. I’d love to hear thoughts from those who work regularly with both physical and digital art! Feel free to post in the comments section below.
Next up: the splendiferous Fred Koehler, whose Dad’s Bad Day comes out from Dial Books For Young Readers in Spring 2014.
And just over TWO MONTHS until I’m Bored comes out, woohoo! Publication date has been moved up to September 4th, 2012.
— Debbie
I blog about writing & illustrating picture books for Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers as well as writing & illustrating for young people in general. 

Pixel Shavings: Staying On Course by Russ Cox

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/06/staying-on-course-by-russ-cox.html
June 20, 2012 at 08:23AM

©2012 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

Since returning from the NESCBWI Conference in late April, I have been heeding the advice I have received from friends, agents, and art directors who have told me how much they love my drawings and sketches. With that advice, I have started playing around colorizing my sketches and drawings so that the looseness and energy does not get lost in the final art. I have been doing a doodle a day (and filled up one sketchbook since returning) which has lead me more down this path. This is the first “official” illustration I did with this looser style. The idea came from a conference doodle that I liked and thought would make a good promo piece.

I quickly worked out a composition based on the doodle. I wanted a slight over the head perspective that would focus on the characters and their “vehicles”.
I then refined the sketch a bit more, developing the characters and the space crafts.
Once I got the characters heading the right direction, I did a final, tighter drawing that stilled kept the freshness of the previous sketches. This was scanned in at 300 dpi so that I could render it digitally. I left room at the top left for my contact info.
I imported the drawing into Painter. With the sketch layer set as the top most layer, and set to “multiply”, I began laying in a background tone and blocks of color. Painter has this cool feature which will allow you to set your light direction as you can see with the gradated tone. Previously, I was doing a grayscale underpainting but I thought the color blocks would achieve the same effect. Plus I wanted to keep things spontaneous and fresh. Oh, I used the gouache brushes for this illustration.

With the color in place, highlights were added on a top layer. This allowed me to drop the white over top of the sketch as well.

I felt that the final illustration looked a little flat so I went back in and added some darker tones and lightened ares of the road and grass. I think it looks much better.
Since this is a postcard promo, I sketched the main characters from the front for the back of the card and will keep it as a black & white piece. All that is left to do is put it together and send it off for printing. 
Everyone put your hands together and give a great big cheer for Debbie Ohi as she will sharing something truly amazing on her post in two weeks. Thanks for reading and make sure to check out the other posts from my fellow Pixel Shavers.
Ciao,
Russ

Pixel Shavings: Cabin Boy from Hazel Mitchell

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/06/cabin-boy-from-hazel-mitchell.html


 I’ve been looking more at historic characters and settings lately. Maybe it’s because I love historic films, documentaries and costume dramas … it is definitely something I feel comfortable drawing!

This little guy turned up in one of my morning warm up sketches, and he features on my next postcard mailout.

I draw these digitally, in photoshop using only a couple of colours (usually inspired by a colour inspiration website). I don’t do any underdrawing … that way I can’t overthink, plus I keep the freshness of the line.

See more of my work at http://hazelmitchell.com or on my blog at http://hazelmitchell.blogspot.com

 Next up on Pixel Shavings in June will be Russ Cox .. fresh from his clean sweep in the Poster Contest at NESCBWI!

Toodles!
Hazel

Pixel Shavings: Happy Birthday to Me by Sheralyn Barnes

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/05/happy-birthday-to-me-by-sheralyn-barnes.html

Today is my birthday and I’m halfway to ninety should I get there. 
I really wasn’t planning to make a big deal of it, especially because I’ve been feeling older in body and spirit in the last few months. Also, I am allergic to a lot of foods. I can’t eat gluten, sugar, or dairy. This is terribly inconvenient for my poor husband who probably has one of the hardest wives to try to do something special for on her birthday. We usually just go out for Indian food.

So a thought occurred to me the other night. I was thinking about this upcoming post and how I’ve been feeling rather “un-fun” with my art lately. I was thinking how ever since I started creating art for money (and on the computer), a lot of the fun has gotten overshadowed by anxiety about doing a good job, my obsessiveness that accompanies working digitally, and navigating contracts. I started thinking about what a BIG deal your birthday is to you when you’re a kid and how you let EVERYONE know. So I told my husband we should definitely have cake for my birthday this year….on paper. I went out and bought crayons and some construction paper. I spent 3 hours literally sprawled out on the living room floor, crayons all around me, making myself a birthday cake. My husband made me one too (he burned it, but it’s still lovely). And my Pixel Shavings mates were incredibly kind enough to take time out of their (very) busy schedules to make me cakes as well. Debbie even took up my challenge of not doing it digitally for the thrill of it.

It was great to not have Control-Z as a safety net. It was great to linger aimlessly over paper on the floor using stubby little sticks of waxy color that seem to work best when held fist first. It was great to realize by middle aged body can still manage to sit on the floor for hours. But most of all, it was great to feel like a kid again and get lost in coloring for a few hours for no reason whatsoever…..except…

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!

©2012 Sheralyn Barnes
©2012 Brian Barnes
©2012 Hazel Mitchell
©2012 Debbie Ohi
©2012 Russ Cox
Thanks to everyone for the loveliest cakes ever 
and for making my birthday so great!
 

Pixel Shavings: Being an Idea Factory by Fred Koehler

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/05/being-idea-factory-by-fred-koehler.html
May 09, 2012 at 05:00AM

Dan Santat illustrated like seven books in one year. My friend Janeen Mason told me she can have a dozen projects at various stages of development all up in the air at once. At a recent SCBWI conference I heard repeated again and again that successful writers and illustrators are idea factories.

So while book numero uno, DAD’S BAD DAY, is in full swing, I’m keeping up the writing and the sketching and the concepts. Here are a couple of recent ideas that I think have some promise.

The Pink Princess Problem – wherein a poor little giant is pestered by princesses who are kinda snarky, mean, and evil.

The Happiness Emporium – wherein a penniless boy encounters a curious shopkeeper with the secret to lifelong happiness, and it’s for sale.

Thanks to all of the friends of pixelshavings, and check in with us next month!

-Fred Koehler
freddiek.com

Pixel Shavings: Congrats to Russ Cox and Hazel Mitchell on their awards from NESCBWI!

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/04/congrats-to-russ-cox-and-hazel-mitchell.html
April 25, 2012 at 10:05AM

I’m interrupting the usual Pixel Shavings illustration process blog postings to post some special news about two of our members, Russ Cox and Hazel Mitchell. Both came back with awards from the New England SCBWI Conference!

Congrats to Hazel on her second-place win in the People’s Choice Award with her “Boy and World” image:
Hazel Mitchell with her print and NESCBWI award.
And congrats to Russ, who won THREE (!!) first-place awards at the conference with the Mother Goose piece he posted about in Pixel Shavings last week:
©2012 Russ Cox.

Russ won first place in the “Published”, “People’s Choice”, and “The Richard Michelson Emerging Artist” categories, and his print will be hanging in the DZain Gallery and the R. Michelson Galleries in Massachusetts.

You can read Russ’s post about the event in his blog. Russ also posted about the critique he received from HarperCollins creative director Martha Rago…fascinating insights, and I strongly urge illustrators to read his post.

I’ve already heard so many good things about the NESCBWI conference, but both Russ’s and Hazel’s posts (plus everyone’s #nescbwi12 posts on Twitter) have convinced me that I really need to try attending this event next year. According to Harold Underdown, the event is scheduled for May 2nd weekend in 2013, so I’ve marked it in my calendar.

Hazel & Russ with illustrator pals at NESCBWI

Next up: the fabulous Fred Koehler, whose first picture book (Dad’s Bad Day) launches in Spring 2014 from Penguin USA.

– Debbie Ridpath Ohi – Twitter: @inkyelbows

Pixel Shavings: From Chicken Scratch to Final by Russ Cox

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/04/from-chicken-scratch-to-final-by-russ.html
April 11, 2012 at 09:49AM

All images © 2012 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio
Hello everyone! For my post I thought I would share how I developed the idea for a poster contest. Sometimes an idea gets stuck in your head and you need to pursue all avenues to see if it is a good one. This illustration was created for the NESCBWI Conference poster contest. The theme for this year’s poster is “A Whole New World”. The idea that hit me right away was to use Mother Goose, since she is a standard symbol for children’s books and stories, using an iPad which is being used more and more by children to read and interact with stories. 
Originally I wanted to use other iconic characters from children’s books. The first sketch shows Mother Goose with Max (Where The Wild Things Are), Pinocchio, and The Three Little Pigs. I liked the idea of them being crowded around the iPad but the overall composition was too busy.
The next idea was a straight on view. I felt it is too direct and lacked a warmth that was needed to tie the “old” and “new” together. You can see the little doodles on the outside of the sketch as I played with composition. At one point, the iPad was very large with the characters staring at it. That composition had too much of a “Big Brother” feel to it.
I went back to Mother Goose as the focal point and had the characters sitting around her and the iPad as if she was reading to them. This was getting better but it lacked the interaction I felt was needed and it needed everyone viewing the device.
Another idea for this concept was if I made Mother Goose a human, riding on a goose with the iPad. Compositionally it was good but then it looked like more of her using a GPS than reading on the device. In the bottom corner, I did a little doodle where she was back to being a goose and facing left. Having her facing left was like she was not ready to move forward but secretly loved the iPad. I moved forward with this idea.
I did a tighter sketch of the idea but added Hickory Dickory, along with the mouse,  to symbolize time and Humpty Dumpty to represent the fragility of embracing digital stories while being true to books and being scared of the new technology.
The above sketches where drawn separately so I could move things around in Photoshop to get the scale and placement to my liking. Instead of clouds in the background that where in the original sketch, I decided to have a book case in the background. This warmed up the tone of the illustration and help strengthen the concept.
Here is the final illustration. I was quite happy with the final and hopes it captures the theme.
Be sure to check back in two weeks for the marvelous Debbie Ohi!
You can view more of my work at:

Pixel Shavings: Digital Sketching from Hazel Mitchell

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/03/digital-sketching-from-hazel-mitchell.html
March 28, 2012 at 07:10AM

Lately I’ve been working a lot more with digital sketching, getting my thoughts right onto the screen with no premeditation or thumb-nailing. Really this has been an exercise to stop me overworking, to play more and to have some fun! I have also been limiting my palette by using online palette suggestions (I use http://design-seeds.com, although there are many others out there).

It’s been taking me in a different direction and got me out of my standard tools/colours/process. So I thought I would share a few of the sketches I have worked on this last month. Most of them were 15 mins to an hour and I draw on a Wacom tablet and use photoshop CS5.

Thanks for stopping by Pixel Shavings! Stop by next time to see what Russ Cox has on the menu.

Hazel Mitchell

 
  

Pixel Shavings: The Evolution of the Bunny by Sheralyn Barnes

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2012/03/evolution-of-bunny-by-sheralyn-barnes.html

I loved Fred’s post last week.
 I think he hit the nail on the head about what it takes to be a children’s illustrator
and it made me think a lot about my own learning curve on becoming a children’s illustrator over the last two years. So I thought I’d touch upon some of his points…the ones about attending conferences, learning as much as you can, and being open and relaxed to what comes your way.
 
 I find myself constantly trying to convince fellow writers and illustrators who truly want to publish children’s books to take the plunge and go to not only the regional SCBWI conferences, but also either the New York or LA ones if they can. To attend one of the larger conferences is a pretty big financial commitment, so it’s understandable why people hesitate. I still find it hard to believe that I ignored my doubts and dire financial situation and went to my first New York conference back in 2010 . But I did, and it is probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Since that time I have
 attended two more conferences in LA, one in Nashville, and one in Minneapolis. As the time to commit to going to the LA conference this year grows nearer, again I find myself doubting whether it is important to go. 
So, to reassure myself, I put together this Bunny Timeline. 
This little furry guy is someone that I’ve been experimenting with since my first New York conference. I’ve used him as a gauge for what I’ve learned in the last two years as I’ve dedicated myself to becoming a professional children’s illustrator. Some of you may recognize the first three images from previous posts. When I look at these illustrations now, I can see how with each conference (and the workshops, keynotes, and critiques that go with them) I have learned so much more about what it really is to illustrate for children. Every conference has been important in giving me new insights as to how to be a better. Not to mention the daily influence, support, and inspiration of the great illustrators that I have met at these conferences. When I attended my first regional conference in 2009, I was naive enough to think I knew what I needed to know to be a good children’s illustrator. I thought with a few tips, tricks of the trade, and connections, I’d be working in no time. What I learned is that I had a lot to learn if I truly wanted to be good and get published. I could draw well (my degree is in fine art, not illustration), but I didn’t really understand everything that went into a great illustration…especially aspects of story and character development. Attending conferences has continually given me the inspiration and information I need to make illustrations and children’s books that I can be proud of, not to mention given me an incredible community to be a part of.
So here is the set up for this first page scene:
A bunny is anxiously awaiting a mouse friend to go find shelter in a barn
as an impending snow storm looms large and threatens their very existence!!!
Rabbit 2010
Here, I found reference photos of wild rabbits (since he was wild right?)
I added a snowy background.
  I thought his looking off into the distance would build intrigue.
What I’ve learned since:
Wild scrawny, mangy looking rabbits are not necessarily instantly lovable, 
even if they are decently rendered.
I LOVED my rendering of the front paws here.
 I was so in love with their artistic nature that I neglected to
 really assess whether the overall image told a story or was endearing to the reader.
There is absolutely no sense of alarm here.
I was just learning to paint on the computer and this is my
 first real image done entirely digitally.
 I was still using a mouse to draw on the computer. Egads.
 I bought a Wacom tablet and watched many tutorials
 on painting in Photoshop after completing this image.
 
Rabbit 2011
Which brings us to here….. 
after about 4 months spent learning how to paint in Photoshop.
 I decided that my rabbit needed to be less mangy and skittish looking.
 I also discovered that my obsessive nature of wanting to make things
 look real exploded with the endless ability of the computer to detail things.
And of course…looking back, I obviously still hadn’t caught on to giving
 this guy any sense of alarm.
I was very proud of this piece when I showed it to Dan Santat in a critique in LA. 
Dan replied that it was a very nice “portrait” of a rabbit.
 What it wasn’t was an illustration that told a story. 
WOW. Big light bulb over head moment there.
 
Rabbit sketch fall 2011 (post Dan Santat critique)
This critique with Dan became the subject of one of my posts 
here at Pixel Shavings and this is the sketch that I made following it. 
I realized that I tended to make my characters very stoic. 
And decided that as an illustrator I needed to work on 
creating more emotion and to develop more of a story in my scenes.
 I could draw well enough, what I needed to work at was a becoming a better actor and director.
I remember starting to think of my characters in these terms: 
Would I hire them for the role in a casting call?
What qualities would I look for if I were holding an audition?
 
Bunny 2012
Which brings us to the present.
After taking the time to watch and re-watch Will Terry’s great videos,
 and taking in more great insights from the posts of my fellow Pixel Shaving’s buddies,
 I began to work on my character design.
 I didn’t want this to be a “rabbit”. He’s a bunny. HE is the LOVABLE character in the story.
 I needed to make him instantly endearing from the start.
 I upped my cuteness factor and this is where I ended up.
 I also warmed him up a bit color-wise, with hopes that it would help the reader warm
 up to him as well.
 I added a hint of the story in the illustration, rather than just a background of snow.
 
Thus ends my bunny evolution. Time to move on to other things.
 I’m sure that a year from now I will have an entirely new perspective on it all.
 And that is great.
That is why I will be taking the plunge for another conference this year. 
It just gets better and better all the time!
Thanks for checking in!
Sheralyn Barnes
 

Pixel Shavings: Flying Fairy from Hazel Mitchell

From: Pixel Shavings
http://pixelshavings.blogspot.com/2011/08/flying-fairy-from-hazel-mitchell.html
August 24, 2011 at 10:14AM

Lately I’ve been working on loosening up my style. So noodling about before the LA conference I came up with this little fairy character …

She’s cross because she’s having trouble flying.

 

So it all worked out in the end …..
See more of my work at http://hazelmitchell.com

I also have a new sketchblog hope you will drop by and visit.
Lastly and certainly not leastly – welcome JOHN DEININGER to Pixel Shavings. We are so happy to have him aboard and I KNOW there will be awesome posts by him.
Tune in this time next week to see what delectable delights artist RUSS COX will be bringing to the party here on the Glog.
Toodles!
Hazel
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